The Summit of My Trip - Bolivia Part V

I was with Miguel, I had never had pacu before when fishing in Argentina for Dorado. Miguel took me to an area and said, man, in this area there will be Pacu. The thing is, you got to fly cast in this direction, like 45 degrees, where the current was intense and let it drift.

Just let it drift, just move it very, very slowly. And I was sceptical about getting a Pacu. They bite strong and run. They never jump. Ian got one and he told me the feeling. Pacu is like getting permit. It’s the same kind of body, it’s like getting a Palomenta in the Parana river. There’s also Pacu in Parana river. They got the best reputation as the best fish to eat in the jungle. All the aboriginals love the Pacu.

So my Pacu ran about 16 yards and then I got him stuck. It was not the best pacu ever but it was a decent size, and it was good to have a different fish in my bag. I was not able to get a Yatorana. We saw some but I never got them. Ian got one and I hope you enjoy the photos. It’s a smaller fish but they fight hard for their body. Unfortunately, I was not able to experience that.

Do you remember poor Mark who had to leave the jungle earlier? Well, he got to the hotel in Santa Cruz de la Sierra safe and sound. He was taken good care of by the doctors, who gave him everything his body needed to stop the dehydration. It was a pity. We missed Mark. He’s a great fly fisherman, with tons of experience. He goes fishing to Norway every year, he’s been to Cuba and Tanzania with us, and we already have plans for next year. He’s a great partner for fishing and also a great person to be around. He knows how to do it.

I’m coming to a point where I have to write about the summit of my trip. I was with Gabriel, a guide that was born in Peru and has fly fished there for Trout, Arapaimas and Peacock bass. Besides all that, he also had four seasons in the Tsimane area. Gabriel knows what he’s doing. He was walking very smoothly in the rocks. He was right, the fish were listening every little noise, so we walked very fast when we were far away but when we were approaching the area we wanted to fish, about 30 yards, we started walking very, very slowly and he had his sight focused in the water, trying to locate the fish in there, in the current. Once we saw them, then we would start casting. So probably, it could happen that you were one or two hours checking, without doing a single cast. The other thing we were looking for was the Sabalos that had been attacked by the Dorados moving around or being in the nervous waters, or the dorados attacking. I missed my first shots, and that’s when I felt, man, I need to practice my cast when I get back home. I probably missed 5, 6 fish. It took me like 3 hours to get my first fish. It was amazing. Remember I’m fishing with Sage 7 rod, Rio Dorado line, and we saw some sabalos, but we almost lost them. We waited for then minutes, we almost left. We said, let’s wait five more minutes and suddenly,the dorado attacked. We put the fly in the middle of them and twenty seconds later we got a fish at the end of the line and it was a 11 kilos, 24-25 pound fish that run 45-50 yards until it stopped, luckily, there were no logs around and I was able to block the reel so that the fish couldn’t continue going away. It took us like twenty minutes to get it and then with did many photos and videos, we were so excited. Gabriel was more excited than myself. That’s a great, true guide, one that gets really excited when their guests get fish and wants them to get the best. There are no words to express how thankful I was to Gabriel that day when I got that fish.

The Agua Negra River is kind of similar to the Dorado River in Salta, Argentina. Kind of similar, but not the same. Here, the winding river in the middle of the forest has a clear current, good deep holes, lot of structures, easy to walk and it’s a bit wider than the one in Salta… We decided to go on the overnight camp that day. The camp was 12 miles upstream, so we were walking and fishing all day long until we got to the camp at 6.3 pm and after that beautiful fish we caught we were able to get two more. So if we do the math, at the end of the day we got 7 missed fish and 3 in the net. We got 10 fish, we lost 7, our percentage would be 30%, from that 70% we lost it was because they were not fully hooked, they run downstream or they came to you and it was not easy to get the line tensed at the right time, sometimes they got under the logs (I should say this was most of the time), and other times they cut the line. What can I say? It’s frustrating but at the same time it’s part of the show, I don’t think that anybody has ever managed to have a 60% average, if they are not lying. 

Okay, If you’re getting just one fish and you don’t lose it, of course, you’re getting 100%. But if you get over ten fish in a day, I’m quite sure that in Bolivia, depending on how lucky you are, two or three fish might be lost. It could be because of the logs, the line, the hook, there are stories about hooks being torn, or broken...Some of my hooks were not very good, so I need to talk to the person who sold them to me back in Cordoba because you can’t go to Tsimane if you don’t have the best hooks at the end of your fly, and the flies have to be  good for the area. You havee to buy great flies, do your research, get contacts and know where to buy them. For our Pointer Fly Fishing anglers, we’ll get sure you get the best flies for this area! 

We got to the camp, which was very basic, and I would probably not recommend it for anybody over 60 years old. It’s just for people who are still able to walk long distances, uphill, get tired and then sleep in a sleeping bag and small matress. There’s no shower, light, etc. That night I took off my wet clothes and sadly, I knew they were going to be wet the next morning but there was no way to bring up more stuff, we were just backpacking everything that was essential, you don’t want to bring up a lot of stuff. Gabriel prepared some pasta with meat, tomato sauce and onions which was absolutely great. The one thing I missed was the whisky, to share with the guides. Zapallo and Roycer were happy, we shared some cool beers and after that we went to bed, it was probably at about 9 or 9.30. The next morning, at 5.3 we were up. We had breakfast and were ready to fish. We could only fish up until 2. We were still going upstream but the river was changing a lot. Now there were more rocks, the little stream that got into the Agua Negra was dirty.
All the water upstream the river was much clear. We got rocks under our feet and they were very slippery, even with good boots. We had to walk very carefully, there were bigger holes with clear water and we saw lots of fish, specially bigger sabalos and some of the biggest dorados I’ve ever seen.

We got two nice fish, and then lost six, too in those two hours... So, there are no complains, it was amazing! just two hours! We got one of the fish in the nervous waters, running. Gabriel told me, there’s fish here. And then he said, just be sure you put the cast there and something will happen. We did what he said and it happened. We got another fish in the line, more photos, more fun, give me five, let’s grab another beer!

The other fish I got during this dorado-hunting-sabalo frenzy was the last fish I got. It was in a big hole of water, and again, Gabriel also told me behind those rocks, there’s got to be fish and I was able to put a nice fly there after some cast behind the rocks... things happen, you know! As soon as my fly touched the water that it hadn’t touched before, pum! the fish got the fly. We were fishing with some black flies, and green, too. 

The way down the lodge was about 18 miles, so we got to get into the quambas (the boat) and get out of it at some other times because the water was so low we couldn’t go through it. So we walked 50 or 100 yards and then get on the quamba again. It took us 4 hours to get from the camp up there to the lodge. By 6.30 I was at the lodge completely exhausted. What I noticed was that the lower I got into the Agua Negra, the warmer the water was and our friends told us that the Secure river was very warm that day.

And of course, warm water doesn’t mean good news. They said they didn’t have much action in the water that day at Secure. Cane took them downstream, close by the Pluma river waters and they got one fish total. The fish was not helping that day!

So after such an amazing experience, it was time for our last meal. How amazing it has been to be here! What a great time we\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\'ve had this past week! we got the whiskey and shared it with the 6 or 7 aboriginal guides who had been helping us during our stay. We also shared it with the three other people working at the lodge. We had a small final party there, a toast and a promise to come back if there was a chance to come back again.

I’m definitely coming back, and I hope you can be the next one!

Pablo Aguilo

Pointer Outfitters

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